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Last updated: 06:23

The East Coast Upgrade

Network Rail have recently completed a two-year £1.2billion programme to upgrade the East Coast Main Line.

The upgrade covered a number of different improvements along the East Coast Main Line, which is a key rail route that connects London with Cambridge and Peterborough and beyond to Yorkshire, the North East of England and Scotland. For Great Northern it affected services between London and Cambridge, King’s Lynn, Peterborough and Hertford North.

The work included a major upgrade at King’s Cross station, bringing a disused tunnel back into use after 44 years, upgrading overhead wires and construction of brand new railway line. It has created a new layout with additional tracks allowing more trains in and out of the station.

The upgrade also involved the transfer of the signalling control from King’s Cross signal box to the modern Rail Operations Centre in York.

The works that have been carried out will mean that all trains running on the East Coast Main Line route should be more reliable and smoother journeys.

Tom Moran, Managing Director Thameslink & Great Northern said, “I want to thank you for your patience and understanding, especially when it was necessary to close King’s Cross station or reduce services to allow this vital work to be carried out. I'm delighted that you can now reap the benefits of this massive upgrade. The rail industry has worked together to complete these works when fewer people were travelling and, as a result, King’s Cross is now fully open as we welcome more and more customers back to rail.”

Key facts and figures

In total the project has involved the installation of:

  • Over 6km of new track
  • Over 30 new sets of points (moveable sets of track which allow trains to move from one set of tracks to another)
  • Over 50 new signals
  • Over 20km of new overhead wires

What happens next?

As part of the East Coast Digital Programme, new modern updated equipment and the very latest in digital train control technology will be installed over the next few years.

This project will replace ageing signalling on the East Coast Main Line route with work to begin installing the new equipment starting in June 2021 between Finsbury Park and Moorgate.

There will be some weekend closures to allow this to be carried out, so always check every journey before you travel at

This will transform train services, especially once it is extended on to the main line route as far as Peterborough later this decade.